Race Recap: Disney Princess Half Marathon

this past weekend, I trekked down to Orlando with my husband, 3 of my friends and significant others, for the Disney Princess Half marathon. I had never runDisney, nor had I ever run a half marathon. I am happy to say that 1) i came back alive, and 2) i had a BLAST! even with my injuries at the beginning and ending of january, i was still able to complete the 13.1 (it was really 13.5-13.6) miles — while it wasn’t without trials and tribulations, I still managed to finish and handle business! I apologize ahead of time if this entry is a little discombobulated, all of the information is just coming out of me in a remotely correct order (?) hehee.

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I really liked the race bibs because they say Princess < insert your name here > — In my case, it said Princess Rebecca. On Sunday, I was indeed a Princess 🙂 We arrived in Orlando, mid-afternoon Saturday; the events of the weekend were in full swing. The expo was already in it’s final 4 hours when we got to it, but it was still PACKED! Our group of 7 stayed at Coroado Springs Resort where the expo was being held (I thought this through when making the travel arrangements for our group! Sometimes, I have forethought). People were all over the place and the happiness and excitement was contagious. One of my buddies, Princess Leah, who was running with me wasn’t feeling that well due to an unfortunate sandwich but she was still determined to run! My other three buddies who were running the half: Princess Michelle, Princess Sheena and Princess Patty (who happened to be 3 months pregnant!)

Overall, our group was well-rounded.

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The boys in our group who were not running, went out and had a boys’ night on Saturday night. They came back around 1am and we got up, an hour later, at 2am to start getting ready for the race! We got dressed in our costumes/running gear. I dressed like Alice (minus the apron), with my team sparkle skirt and of course, brought along my trusty camelbak! (aside about my camelbak: my pug got ahold of my camelbak reservoir thing –the blue part– and proceeded to eat the nozzle on Thursday before we were leaving! I had class thursday night and no time to run to REI or any other sporting goods store and get a replacement so I had to steal the nozzle from my snowboarding camelbak reservoir, but needless to say I was a little upset with the little guy. He had access to it for months and months and picked two days before my first half to bust in on it and kill it! thank god i had a spare!) Leah and I left our room at 3am to go meet up with Michelle and Sheena at the bus stop for transport to the race. 3am! to go to a race!!! good lord, right?! hehehe (I got two hours of sleep Saturday night). We met up with them and boarded the bus to head to a parking lot at epcot where the start was going to be. We got there SUPER early. BUT! good news, we had time to snap a few photos as a group and hook up with some other similar racers who were dressed their part!

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the costumes at the race were absolutely AMAZING!!! people put a lot of effort into their costumes! It made me feel a little bit like a runDisney slacker, but thats ok! It was a great time!

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Found Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum!

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This is me with my buddy, Patty. 3 months pregnant and still killing the 13.1!

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There were 26,000 people running the Disney Princess half. This was the view from Corral F. All of my friends were in earlier corrals (B and C) but they dropped back to start with me and Patty in Corral F — they all dropped back for various reasons, but I am glad they did! I had never run a half before (until Sunday) and they all had so I was pretty nervous before they decided to drop back and hang out with me. Because it was SO crowded at the start and we were all pacing faster than the people in the corral, we spent the majority of time, when we were running, passing people.

Michelle stuck it out with me, while Leah and Sheena moved ahead.

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The start line!

There were fireworks at the start of every corral! There was also a DJ! Corral F started at 6:10am (35 minutes after Corral A); by the time the leader was looping back and running towards epcot, we were only at mile 2ish… hehehe

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posing like superman with the princesses backdrop at mile 2-3ish

Michelle and I had a great time as we ran! We stopped for photos along the way with some of the characters and other sites!

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Michelle was dressed as Belle so we had to stop for a shot with Lumiere when he was on the sidelines around mile 4.5ish.

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Me with Alice and the Mad Hatter near fantasyland and mad hatter’s tea spin thing in Magic Kingdom

As we were running through Magic Kingdom, we saw Alice and the Mad Hatter and while I know Alice isn’t exactly a disney princess and I don’t exactly have blonde hair, I made a concious decision to dress up like Alice because the Disney movie is one of my favorites and definitely holds a special place in my heart. When we saw them, we were at the start of mile 5. Also during our run through the Magic Kingdom, we saw Belle and Gaston (whom we stopped to get pictures with for Michelle — her niece LOVES Belle!). When we came up on the castle, people slowed to a walk and I am not just talking about the people who were speed walking or walking because they didnt want to run anymore, I am talking about EVERYONE. EVERYONE slowed to a walk. I was a little sad that I had to WALK through the castle when you see all of the neat pics of people running through or coming out on the other side and running, but such is the way of a PACKED race! By the end, we were passing those in Corral D and we weren’t going super fast either. We kept to a 11.30-12 min mile pace for the most part. Around the end of mile 7, my tfl/hip was killing me, so Michelle and I stopped to walk a little bit. We walked about 2 minutes and then carried on when we ran into Mary FREAKIN Poppins!

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Michelle and I with Mary Poppins!!!

I should add in here that every time we saw a character, Michelle and I would start singing a song from the movie is Disney didn’t already have a song playing. When they did have a song playing, we started singing along with the song playing. And yes, I realize you shouldnt be going so slow that you can sing while you run, but this was supposed to be a fun run right?! and honestly, the slow pace was good for me because I am still recovering from a TFL/hip issue that I was having at the end of January. As we moved along and sang, others started singing with us occasionally, but mostly we just got the “you are super weird” looks! I thought it was awesome! hehhehee

When we got to the end of mile 10, we were headed up the final hill (which was an entrance ramp to disney) and then we headed over and down the ramp into epcot. I started chanting we’re almost done. 2.1 more miles, but no one wanted to hear it. 🙂

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My time, minus the character stops but with some of the walking I did

We ran into epcot and as we were rounding the corner at mile 12.8, there was a volunteer shouting 0.3 left. Now while that sounded so awesome and was exactly what my watch read, it was inaccurate. We ran and ran and my garmin hit 13.1 before we hit the end of mile 13 (weird, right?). At the end of the race, my watch said something like 13.3 or 13.4 and others were saying they hit 13.6 (i forgot to start my garmin right at start). so yea… weird. anyway, below, you can see my time (with the walking at the end of mile 7 and the start of mile 10) but without the time it took to stop for character photos. Add that in and my finish time was somethin like 3.08 — but that is ok cause it just gives me a time to beat in the future 🙂

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I sweat a lot!

I was proving that I sweat like Gaston!

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My wonderful husband at epcot!

After the race we went back to the resort, showered up and wandered around Magic kingdom. Then we proceeded to hit animal kingdom and epcot on monday. Overall, the trip was a total blast! Thanks to everyone who went and who made it possible so I could go!

Things learned:

  1. Have fun at Disney races, don’t worry about the clock! You paid for the experience, so experience it!
  2. Prepare for Florida humidity (even in February)
  3. Be ready to get up at 2 or 3am 
  4. Roll with the punches and encourage people along the way!
  5. Stay for a few extra days to see the parks (way less crowded in the days following then weekend leading up to and day of)

 

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Disney world really is the most magical place on earth!

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